Some Quick Tips
- Find something that your teen has done over the last week that left you with some good feeling and share it with him or her. It might be relatively small, often its the littlest recognitions that have the biggest and most lasting impact!!!
- Make a date with your teen to get coffee, get an ice-cream, get a manicure, go to a dinner and movie-mid-week; invite them to meet you at your office and then go for dinner somewhere new and different. In short, break the daily routine and in some way show your interest in spending some time with your teen. Many teens have never seen or even know what it is their parents do. That is always a great eye opener to see their parents in a new way. Whatever you do, do something they would love to do, not something you would like them to do with you!
- Do not rule with an iron fist. This may have worked when they were younger and liked rules and regulations. Your teen needs to be a part of the rule making if you don't want them to be a rule breaker. Teens will easily resort to lying when they feel you have left no room for negotiation and conversation. Most kids are actually pretty reasonable, and when given the opportunity to have some control will rise to the occasion, and conversely if they feel too over controlled will try to take it.
- Try to refrain from going on the "lecture circuit." I know you have a lot of wisdom and life lessons to impart, but when you see their eyes roll up into their head, you have probably lost the moment. A good speaker always reads their audience. If you are living a life filled with purpose, and model for them what it means to be a good person, then you won't need to tell them what it means to be a good person. They "get it.
- Practice using a neutral tone of voice. Remember what your grandparents said: "It's not what you say, but how you say it!!!